Oil in a Wild finish

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Sometimes a lesson is learned the hard way, a smack across the knuckles with a ruler instead of a soft word of warning.

It took the Edmonton Oilers the better part of last night's game to figure out that they could beat the Minnesota Wild pillar to post by simply staying out of the penalty box. The Oilers had more of everything 5-on-5, but when the Wild were on the power- play, the Oil were under siege.

POWER PLAYS EN MASSE

There were power plays en masse for the Wild - Jarret Stoll sent twice to the box and Igor Ulanov making three trips - and the Oilers paid the price by giving up two goals while shorthanded.

"We got a break in the end," said a relieved Craig MacTavish after the Oilers bolted from the Xcel Energy Center with a 4-3 win over Minnesota.

The break was Ethan Moreau's shot that caught a piece of Filip Kuba's stick and found the five-hole on Wild netminder Dwayne Roloson with 50 seconds to go.

"We were due for a break, especially Ethan," added MacTavish. "It was good to see him get a break that won us a game."

The battle was won when the Oilers finally clued in to their plight and stayed out of the box in the third.

"It's so hard out there. We try to play hard and a lot of our penalties come from trying to pursue the puck and work hard," said Moreau.

"We gave up two power-play goals in the first and you usually don't come out of a game when you do that. But our penalty-killing's been solid and we did a better job in the second and third of killing the penalties we did take."

Raffi Torres gave the Oilers an early lead when Stoll, after intercepting a breakout feed, cruised in and elected to send a pass back into the slot where Torres beat Roloson.

With Marian Gaborik back in the lineup after missing 11 games with a hip flexor strain, the Wild power play got a jolt.

Gaborik found the back door coming in from the point and took a Pascal Dupuis pass to beat Mike Morrison and then helped set up Dupuis on a two-man advantage. Pierre-Marc Bouchard had acres of room to move in and then gunned a hard pass to Dupuis at the side of the crease for an easy tap in.

Less than two minutes later, Shawn Horcoff beat Stephane Veilleux - a replacement for Wes Walz who was tossed from the circle - on a draw that Ales Hemsky then one-timed past Roloson.

After Stoll put the Oilers back on top on another errant clearing attempt, they were forced into penalty-kill mode for much of the second period but they were able to escape from the Wild's pressure until Dupuis, who hadn't found the net all season, hit for his second of the night.

HEADED FOR OT

Morrison was sure the Oilers were headed for OT, just as his University of Maine squad did in his final NCAA game in the Frozen Four in this same rink against the hometown Golden Gophers.

"The guys kept battling that last shift on Ethan's goal. It was a great shift and they were rewarded for it," said Morrison who won his third game in as many starts.

"You've got to get your bounces but you've got to make your own bounces."

LATE HITS: Only 24 seconds after the Oilers made it 1-0, Wild tough guy Derek Boogaard challenged Georges Laraque to a battle but the Oiler enforcer won the tussle with three big lefts.

"It's not very often I feel like a midget," said Big Georges afterwards. "He had to be 10 feet tall."


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